Building Your Model Railroad Blog


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Building Your Model Railroad Blog

This is the official BYMRR Model Railroad Blog Page containing many excellent articles all about model railroading - train tutorials, modeling tips and techniques, layout scenery, wiring your railroad, automating your trains, building your layout benchwork, operating your trains and and links to model railroading supplies. Written by model railroad authorities on how to build a layout step-by-step.

To subscribe to this train blog, simply go to your favorite RSS reader and copy and paste this link into the proper feeder URL and you will immediately get all the updates on the newest model railroading tools, techniques and supplies...

Contributions to this blog are very much encouraged and will be accepted after approval by the moderator. You may include a reference to your own website if it is related to model railroading or railfanning.  Include photos whenever possible. You may also include train products that you would like to sell.

To sell products on this site, you must first go to the Classified Page and enter your information, product and price.

Please remember that all submissions to this blog must be in good taste (nothing vulgar or derogatory) and must be about trains, railroads, model railroads, railfanning, model structures, etc.  All other entries will not be permitted.

The mission and goal of this model railroad blog is to enable interaction among model railroaders everywhere, to share information about the hobby to all those who are interested and to promote model railroading as a fantastic, enjoyable, artistic craft that enhances comradery and brings people together.

New and Updated Pages:

Sep 17, 2020


Halloween is coming up soon! I know for a lot of people, Halloween is really the most fun holiday of the year for kids of all ages - Model Railroaders included. This is the time to start thinking about creating your own Halloween diorama or train scene so it will be ready by All Saints Day! There are some great Halloween train sets, structures, and figures that would be perfect for a temporary Halloween scene that you could put up, take down and have again for next year and for years to come. These items would be good for a lifetime of Halloween fun and could even be passed down from one generation to another. Click on the link below to find out more...

Continue reading "Halloween!"

Sep 02, 2020

Tracks: September 2020

Another great issue of Tracks, the newsletter for model railroaders of all ages and all scales.

Continue reading "Tracks: September 2020"

Aug 22, 2020

Tracks: August 2020

A monthly model railroad newsletter that's full of tips, photos and videos to keep model railroaders inspired.

Continue reading "Tracks: August 2020"

Aug 22, 2020

Realistic Scenery from Aluminum Flashing

This is an article by Goeff Green published on this site in 2015 that I thought was worth mentioning again. This would be a great way to develop mountains, cliffs, tunnels and other structures quickly and with less mess than using plaster. You could use it as a rocky cliff, or it could provide a base to which you could add ground cover, bushes and other vegetation. If you are in the terrain or structure-building phase of developing your layout, take a look. Also, read the many comments that follow the article..

Continue reading "Realistic Scenery from Aluminum Flashing"

Jul 15, 2020

Scratchbuilding Your Model Railroad Structures

Scratchbuilding Tips for creating your own model railroad buildings

Continue reading "Scratchbuilding Your Model Railroad Structures"

Jul 13, 2020

Train Photos / Gallery

Gallery of prototypical and/or model train photos and model railroad layout photos

Continue reading "Train Photos / Gallery"

Jul 08, 2020

Layout Command Control

First there was DC-Analog. Then there was DCC. And now there's LCC, which may be the future of layout command control.

Continue reading "Layout Command Control"

Jul 05, 2020

Ads Minimized

You Spoke, We Listened! The ads were interfering with content. (We didn't like them either.) It actually took a while to figure out how to stop them, but persistence paid off. So now you can actually read the pages without ads all over the place! Thanks for visiting!

Jul 01, 2020

Tracks Issue #10 - July 2020

Model Railroad News: Lots of information, updates, tips, techniques, layout videos, photos and supply links for serious model railroaders.

Continue reading "Tracks Issue #10 - July 2020"

Jun 24, 2020

Model Railroad Craftsman Kit Structures

Model Railroad Themed Craftsman Structure Kits:

Ipswich Hobbies is a small company that focuses on delivering laser cut craftsman building kits that are based upon prototype structures. Kits are also available pre-built.

Continue reading "Model Railroad Craftsman Kit Structures"

Jun 14, 2020

Model Railroading Product Reviews

This page, Model Railroading Product Reviews, serves as a conduit for visitors to explore the pros and cons of tools and other products commonly used by model railroaders and other hobbyists.

Continue reading "Model Railroading Product Reviews"

Jun 12, 2020

Milling Machines - Honest Product Reviews

I received an email recently from the Outreach Manager of The Saw Guy website who thought the many product reviews on his site might be helpful to our visitors. I agreed.

In fact I liked it so much that I thought it would be helpful to others to create a new section on the BYMRR site specifically for model railroading product reviews, which you will see in the near future.

In the meantime, check out the many reviews on The Saw Guy site starting with the page on milling machines...

Continue reading "Milling Machines - Honest Product Reviews"

Jun 10, 2020

Placing Buildings on Your Layout

Placing buildings properly on your layout seems fairly simple, but if you think about it, where and how you put your structures on your layout have a lot to do with the esthetics and the realism of your model railroad. First, you may want to consider building a foundation for your structure. Most kits don’t contain this element of a building. You can make a foundation easily by using strips of styrene covered with paper or cardstock printed with a brick pattern using software like ”Brickyard” by Evans Software. If your building is on a hill, use the foundation to allow the structure to be level while the foundation follows the slant of the hill on the bottom.

Second, make sure your groundcover comes right up to the edge of the structure and that your surrounding scenery (bushes and trees) are placed around your structures in a realistic way. Don’t leave big gaps between the bottom edge of the structure and the layout surface.

Don’t always have your buildings lining up with the tracks. It’s much more interesting to have them set up unparallel to the tracks with roads leading to or alongside the buildings.

Add interior lights to your buildings before you fasten them to the surface. Or leave the roof unglued so you can get at the interior to install or change lights.

Hold your buildings in place without gluing them down by inserting wooden dowels into the layout surface precisely where the inside corners of the building would meet the surface. Then you can lift it up and put it back down in exactly the same place.

Make sure you have a suggestion of adequate parking for your buildings or industries. Create walkways, driveways, fences around houses. Look at reference photos to help in creating the look you want. Don’t forget the details like people, dogs, trash cans, mailboxes, traffic lights, litter on the street, etc.

[Reprinted and edited with permission from Building Your Model Railroad Newsletter, May 2011]

Jun 07, 2020

Small N Scale Train Layout

Step-by-step creation of a small N Scale model train layout - A great way to get started, or if you just want to take a break from the big layout.

Continue reading "Small N Scale Train Layout"

Jun 07, 2020

Blasts from the Pasts: Great Tips that Still Work Today...

Wavy Water

One of the better products available for making water that we don’t talk about much is the matte and gloss medium called Mod Podge. This is great to use if you are modeling water that is wind-blown or moving. It is a fairly thick liquid that will hold it’s shape as you apply it with a brush, so it’s easy to make waves that stay where you want them. It goes on white and dries clear. After it dries, you should then apply a high-gloss acrylic wax like Pledge Future Shine to protect the surface, which is otherwise prone to get scratched. Thinned matte medium is also great to use as glue for laying roadbed, track or even ground cover and can serve as a fixing agent when sprayed over scenery to help hold everything in place. (It can also be used as a glue and sealer for picture puzzle surfaces prior to framing and hanging.)

(“The Scenery Clinic: Pt XV: Modeling Water and Evergreens”, by Paul Scoles, Railroad Model Craftsman, April, 2011, p74)

For more info on creating water effects, rapids and waterfalls, visit the BYMRR pages on Waterfalls and Water Scenes.

Continue reading "Blasts from the Pasts: Great Tips that Still Work Today..."

Jun 01, 2020

Tracks June 2020

Tracks is a newsletter published monthly by Building Your Model Railroad containing tips, techniques, news, photos and videos of interest to model railroaders.

Continue reading "Tracks June 2020"

May 26, 2020

Small Projects

Small projects - Sometimes working on a big layout can be overwhelming. You begin to think that you'll never get it looking decent. It starts becoming a chore rather than fun. If this happens to you, try breaking up the big project into little ones. Just work on one thing or one scene at a time. If you get that one scene done so that everything works well and looks good in that area, then you will feel like you've accomplished something, and you will be more encouraged to go on with the next scene. Or break away from the big layout altogether for a while and do a much smaller project like a simple coffee table layout or a seasonal diorama. You may want to try your hand at a micro-mini layout. Or go an a rail-fanning trip and take a bunch of pictures. This will stimulate you to get back to your layout and perhaps try to emulate what you've seen using your new pictures as reference photos. There are so many things to do as part of this hobby, it's mind-boggling. (Re-posted from BYMRR Newsletter, Feb. 2011.)

Continue reading "Small Projects"

May 25, 2020

BYMRR Hobby Center

This is our online general hobby store owned by BYMRR - starting with trains and expanding to other hobbies over time.

Continue reading "BYMRR Hobby Center"

May 21, 2020


Incandescent bulbs can take either AC or DC power. If you use less voltage to power the bulb than what the bulb is rated for, you will have a much more natural light and it will last a lot longer (i.e., Use a 6-10 volt power supply for a 12V bulb)

LEDs (Light-emitting diodes), on the other hand, require DC only. They have to be connected in the right direction with the longer LED being attached to the + terminal of the power supply and the short lead (flat side of the LED) connected to the – terminal. An LED must have a resistor attached in series with one of the leads or it won't last very long. Most LEDs operate at a max of 2V and 20mA. If you’re using a 12V power supply, then you will need a 560ohm ¼ watt resistor. If your LED has a different rating, the math is as follows:

(Power voltage minus LED voltage) divided by (LED current in Amps) = Resistor value in Ohms.

Resistors often don't come in the exact size that you need so choose the resistor that has the next highest value. For example, if you need a 500ohm ¼ watt resistor, choose the next highest which is 560. ("Very Basic Electronics", by Bob Kendall, N-Scale, March-April, 2011, p45)

May 17, 2020


Despite these difficult times, we need to maintain our sense of humor and add some comic relief to our lives. Add some fun to your layout. There are lots of ways to do this. If your layout is freelanced, you can make up a funny story about how your railroad got started, frame it and post it in your train room. There are a number of humorous train signs that can be purchased and hung in your room as well. Create funny labels for your buildings and industries. Make hilarious billboards, or scenes of people being people, like arguing with police for getting a ticket, or farm crops full of cotton swabs, or add a few dinosaurs peeking out from behind buildings. Add sounds of a train wreck occurring just as a locomotive goes around a hidden bend. Add a car wreck scene. Consider a scene with a bunch of city workers standing around looking at a manhole cover. Take pictures of a lady tied to the tracks with a villain standing by. Use your imagination. Get your family to give you some ideas. They will enjoy watching your scene develop.

May 01, 2020

Tracks May, 2020

Extra scale modeling tips and techniques to help with building your own railroad!

Continue reading "Tracks May, 2020"

May 01, 2020

Animation using Arduino's

The following links are two of my latest projects. I have a fire station with a burning building, moving fire trucks and guys coming down the fire pole.

Continue reading "Animation using Arduino's"

Apr 17, 2020

Model Railroad Track

How to lay model railroad track

Continue reading "Model Railroad Track"

Apr 15, 2020

Model Railroad Backdrop

How to make a model railroad backdrop.

Continue reading "Model Railroad Backdrop"

Apr 15, 2020

Ready Rocks

Ready Rocks by Woodland Scenics is a relatively new way of adding rocks to your layout - whether you need rock retaining walls, outcroppings or surface rocks. These are pre-made and ready to insert into your landscape. Read more about it at the bottom of the updated page on Making Rocks...

Continue reading "Ready Rocks"

Apr 01, 2020

Tracks Issue #7 April, 2020

Tracks #7 - The BYMRR newsletter for model railroaders - news, tips, techniques, pics and vids, and more

Continue reading "Tracks Issue #7 April, 2020"

Mar 13, 2020

3D Printing

Looking for someone to make a special product or structure for your layout that you can't find anywhere else? Send your picture or drawing to John and he'll make it for you at a great price...

Continue reading "3D Printing"

Mar 13, 2020

The New Chandler Woodburning-Solder Tool

This new woodburning-soldering multipurpose tool by Chandler would be a great addition to your model railroading tool collection

Continue reading "The New Chandler Woodburning-Solder Tool"

Mar 07, 2020

BYMRR Photos on Flickr

I recently organized about 2600 of my model railroad photos on Flickr. You can even use them as a slideshow on your computer if you wish...
My Train photos

Mar 03, 2020

Kitbashing with Scale Plans

We've recently completed modeling the Monon Depot in Lafayette, Indiana. Someone mentioned to me that the main part of it looked like a bank, so I lopped

Continue reading "Kitbashing with Scale Plans"

Mar 01, 2020

Tracks-006 Issue #6 - March, 2020

This issue of Tracks-006 contains a ton of new tips, pics and videos all about model railroading.

Continue reading "Tracks-006 Issue #6 - March, 2020"

Feb 29, 2020

Lionel O Scale Hopper -Black

Another great Lionel product, used but in very good condition. O Scale hopper obtained from Mike Basto's antique train collection. Not sure when this

Continue reading "Lionel O Scale Hopper -Black"

Feb 27, 2020

O Scale Rail Car

This is a used O scale railcar made by Lionel. It is in very good condition. Would like to get $15 for it which includes shipping. Send me an email if

Continue reading "O Scale Rail Car"

Feb 17, 2020

Chandler Heat Gun Review

This is a product review of the Chandler Heat Gun.

Continue reading "Chandler Heat Gun Review"

Feb 16, 2020

MTH Rail King RDC Budd 2 car add on set O gauge

This is an MTH Rail King RDC Budd 2 car add on set (non powered) O gauge (O/027) The markings are Port Authority of Allegheny County, from the Pittsburgh/Monongahela

Continue reading "MTH Rail King RDC Budd 2 car add on set O gauge "

Feb 07, 2020

Glue Gun Review

This is a product review of the Chandler 100 watt glue gun

Continue reading "Glue Gun Review"

Feb 02, 2020

Tracks Issue #5

February, 2020 Issue #5 of Tracks - a free monthly newsletter full of tips, techniques, photos and videos to enhance your enjoyment of model railroading.

Continue reading "Tracks Issue #5"

Jan 28, 2020

Problems with paint adhering to models?

Tip from Model Railroad Hobbyist:

Sometimes model pain doesn't want to adhere well to models. To remedy this, you can spray the area you want to paint with an adhesion promoter that you can buy at most auto supply stores. Before it dries, use whatever color spray paint you wish to use. It must be spray paint. You can't paint over it with a brush.

Continue reading "Problems with paint adhering to models?"

Jan 22, 2020

Tracks Preview:

Here is a preview of the topics coming up in the new February Issue of Tracks...

Uncoupling Tips

How to Install a DCC Decoder in Any Locomotive

Building Decks to Hide Switch Machines

How to Get Trains to Run More Smoothly

How to Use Natural Materials to Create the Best Scenery

More Pics from the Layouts We Love

Videos of the Month

Upcoming Train Shows and Events


Jan 03, 2020

Model Railroad Control Panel

How to make a model railroad control panel with remote turnout switches, accessory switches, turntable controls, etc. for your model railroad layout.

Continue reading "Model Railroad Control Panel"

Jan 03, 2020

Blue Ridge and Southern Model Railroad Photos and Videos

Here are some photos and videos of my BR&S RR - a work in progress, but also a labor of love.

Continue reading "Blue Ridge and Southern Model Railroad Photos and Videos"

Dec 28, 2019

Tracks #004

A free monthly newsletter all about model railroading from the author(s) of

Continue reading "Tracks #004"

Dec 23, 2019

Model Train Supplies

Many of the model train supplies that you will need to build your model railroad can be found on this page.

Continue reading "Model Train Supplies"

Dec 20, 2019

Christmas and Trains

I ran this article on the Blog a few years ago. When I reread it again recently it was still fun to be reminded of this history. So I thought my BYMRR readers might like to see it again...

Merry Christmas to All and a Happy New Year!

--> Here is a great article about the history of toy trains and model railroading and why trains are so commonly associated with Christmas...

Continue reading "Christmas and Trains"

Dec 12, 2019

How to Reduce Risk from Common Driving Infractions

Here is another article on our series of "Using Technology for Safety in Transportation".

Driver safety is one of the biggest challenges fleet managers face today due to the frequency of road

Continue reading "How to Reduce Risk from Common Driving Infractions"

Dec 11, 2019

Drive-In Theater

How to build an actual working drive-in theater for your model railroad layout.

Continue reading "Drive-In Theater"

Dec 08, 2019

Actual N Scale working Drive In Movie Theatre

Have built three N scale layouts, 3 x 4, 4 x 4 and 3 x 6, basically all from scratch. The pics attached are from my 4 x 4 layout and depict an actual

Continue reading "Actual N Scale working Drive In Movie Theatre"

Dec 05, 2019

Using Technology for Safety in Transportation

This article is not directly related to model railroading, but it does have to do with real-world safety of transportation workers. I figure any way that we can use technology to make things safer for these and other employees, especially if it's efficient and affordable, should be promoted or at least made discoverable by those in the field where it could be studied and considered.

Continue reading "Using Technology for Safety in Transportation"

Dec 01, 2019


Tracks - a model railroad newsletter containing new tips, pics and tricks published every month to help model railroaders everywhere to better enjoy the hobby.

Continue reading "Tracks"

You might also like these pages:

  • Tracks

    Tracks - a model railroad newsletter containing new tips, pics and tricks published every month to help model railroaders everywhere to better enjoy the hobby.

  • Tracks

    A digital newsletter containing lots of new or updated tips and information about model railroading

  • Your Model Railroading Tips and Comments

    Share your own model railroading tips and comments to help other model railroaders improve.

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Recent Articles

  1. Halloween!

    Sep 17, 20 11:07 AM

    Read More

  2. Tracks: September 2020

    Sep 02, 20 07:32 AM

    Another great issue of Tracks, the newsletter for model railroaders of all ages and all scales.

    Read More

  3. Tracks: August 2020

    Aug 22, 20 07:43 AM

    A monthly model railroad newsletter that's full of tips, photos and videos to keep model railroaders inspired.

    Read More

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